Friday, 8 September 2017

Westonbirt Charities Fair

Weds 24th & Thurs 25th October

Westonbirt School Near Tetbury 10:00-17:00
Now in its 17th year there is something for everyone. Spoil yourself with cashmere and jewellery. Buy gadgets for men and stocking fillers for children! Find the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family and treat yourself to something scrumptious from our artisan food hall.

Relax and have a delicious lunch in our spacious restaurant. Then listen to one of our free, highly entertaining talks by local authors who will be speaking on a variety of topics.

Children will adore hunting for our knitted reindeer and you'll be amazed by our display of Wearable Art. There is so much to look forward to - why not enter our 'Wearable Mask' competition and come to our Gypsy Ball on 21st October.

Details at Tickets are £7.50 online or £8 on the door.
Our charities this year are Home-Start SD, the Great Western Air Ambulance and Toucan for Children.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Whisky and Chocolate...

A warm welcome from Corinium Radio to a very special evening of chocolate and whisky...
This unique event will treat you to a truly top quality experience of pairing five handmade chocolates and selected malt whiskies. The chocolates have been specially created for us in Inverness by expert chocolatier Debbie Niven and the whiskies have been selected by Cirencester’s Roger Reid with support from the Manager of The Whisky Shop, Scott Mackenzie Dunn, also in Inverness. Debbie and Scott have been working closely together to give Roger considerable help in preparation for our unique pairing of the handmade chocolates and interesting and rare whiskies.
One of the five whiskies’ you’ll taste has been described by Roger as ‘Somewhat of a hidden gem from Dufftown on Speyside’. This is the 'Mortlach Rare Old'. Matured in bourbon and sherry casks giving an enticing, complex malt whisky with flavours of fruit cake, spice and orange zest. A beautifully balanced dram - velvety and very more- ish. The Mortlach will be paired with triple chocolate fudge drizzled in dark chocolate. A delicious blend of Belgian white, milk and dark chocolate.
Just to tempt your palate further there will also be a rare and very interesting malt from Islay. (Tasting notes of this rare bottle are available in advance on request)
24 tickets are available for this unique event and priced at only £30.00 each they are sure to be in demand.
The evening starts at 7.00pm on Friday, 13th October 2017 and the venue is- The Abbey Room. The Parish Centre. Gosditch Street, Cirencester. GL7 2AG. The Abbey Room is on the 1st floor and there is a lift. For ticket sales or enquiries call Geoff Carr on 07719 896039.

Oak & Furrows Wildlife Rescue Sanctuary Fund Raiser 27th October

Some of the animals they support!
The charity was launched 23 years ago in Somerford Keynes by Serena Stevens. It has grown exponentially and is now a significant cluster of buildings, with nine employees and many volunteers in the 60 acre Blakehill Nature Reserve, owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and situated just outside Cricklade. Nowadays it needs funding of £170,000 per annum!

The dedicated team of staff manage treatment areas, food preparation unit, care nests and cages, examination areas, units for wildlife with very demanding injuries and healthcare problems, and recovery areas for those treated by local vets.

The last fund raiser at De Vere in March, raised £8,000.  Chairman Robin Thompson, the trustees, general manager Charles Pope, staff and volunteers are planning to launch the best yet.  Event number two at De Vere will be a buffet dinner party, with music from the Sapphires, UK Elvis Presley tribute, super local singer Andy Hughes, and compere Mark Cummins of BBC Radio Gloucestershire. There will be a raffle,  tombola, an Oak and Furrows slide show, membership desk.
The charity is appealing for raffle prizes. Tickets, £40 per person, from Oak & Furrows (call Chrissy or Lucy on 01793 751412) individual or table.

Full Steam Ahead at Tetbury Goods Shed

Welcome in!

This vibrant new arts centre on the outskirts of Tetbury opened just six months ago but in that time has welcomed musical maestros, literary heroes, performing puffins and Shakespearean actors. And there’s so much more to come this autumn.
Highlights from the summer include the hilarious Alexander McCall Smith, famed author of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Swindon singer, songwriter Josh Kumra, who, despite the unseasonable downpour, didn’t fail to entertain a rain soaked audience. And the award winning folk duo, Ninebarrow.
And just last month saw one of the venue’s most successful weekends yet, with a Friday morning filled with children making treasure maps, a Saturday night with the fabulous Le Swing jazz band and a weekend Stone Carving Workshop. Hundreds of people came through the doors, breathing in the creativity, fun and atmosphere. A wonderful result for such a new arts centre.
Take a seat.
Over the coming months, The Goods Shed will hold its first ever stand-up comedy night. Sure to be a success, it features Tetburians past and present amongst the acts. That’s followed by talented singer and musician George Montague and his Notsobigband. And then the highly entertaining Squashbox Theatre bring their Curious Creatures production. A fantastical puppet show for families that takes the audience on a journey through the animal kingdom.
And in October the centre welcomes Cirencester’s Maria Jagusz as special guest star, performing alongside pianist Richard George – who premieres his new album Train Stories. Maria has worked as a soloist for many leading opera companies, including the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and the English National Opera. And can count Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Lesley Garrett among previous singing partners.
Tickets for any event at Tetbury Goods Shed can be bought online at

Cirencester Town FC Sponsorship

Mainstream Digital – Press Release – 11th August 2017

Cirencester Town FC Sponsorship – 2017/18 season
Mainstream Digital are pleased to confirm their continued sponsorship of the local football club, Cirencester Town Football Club.
Mainstream Digital is a supplier of on-site and hosted telephony and internet solutions for business, and has operated in the Cirencester area for over 20 years, currently from the Love Lane Industrial Park.
Mainstream have been providing telephone and internet solutions to the local Evo-Stick Southern league club since 2014, and have been an official sponsor of the club for the previous 2 seasons.
Mainstream Marketing Manager, John Rivers, said “We were pleased with our sponsorship through the previous season and with the planned ground improvements for 2017/18 we were happy to increase our visibility and become sponsors of the main stand.”
Throughout the off-season, the club has worked hard upgrading the pitch to the latest artificial playing surface, which at the time of writing is the first of its kind in the UK.
The new stand sign is now in place and the pitch is ready for the first home match of the season. Mainstream attended the club’s recent kit launch event, unveiling the sponsors’ of the home and away kit as well as the stand sponsorship.
Cirencester FC Players (LtoR, Aidan Bennet, Mateusz Wieczorek,
Henry Spalding, Louis Loader) show off the new home and away strip.

”It’s a great opportunity to support our local club, and be a small part of the huge investment they have made. Mainstream has customers across the UK but has been operating out of the Cirencester area for 20 years, so it’s good to be supporting the local team and getting the company name recognised.”
Scott Griffin, the club Football Secretary said “Its great to get Mainstream on board for the new season.  They were keen to get involved and support their local club, and as the supplier of our telephone system it’s been a mutually beneficial arrangement.  It’s great to know that they are just down the road if we need them.  We have lots of exciting developments planned for the club this season and we are happy that we will be able to share that with all our sponsors.”
For more information about Mainstream Digital and the solutions they provide for businesses please contact them via the website –, their twitter account @MSDigitalTweet, or call 0800 169 4055.

Country Matters by The Hodge: Self-Sufficiency

Country Matters
By The Hodge

“Please, sir, I want some more.”
Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers 1837

‘Self-Sufficiency’ is a very emotive term. In 1976 a book of this title by John Seymour spawned a whole new outlook for thousands of people who took to growing their own vegetables, trying to keep pigs and chickens and goats in their gardens and mending anything and everything. You may even remember, (or have recently discovered via endless repeats on minority channels), the BBC television programme The Good Life with Richard Briers, Penelope Keith and others which was created and executed as a direct result of this movement back to pre-war days.

‘Self-sufficiency’ means a lot of different things and I’m not really concerned about anyone who wishes to re-adopt such a lifestyle – I just wish them well. Self-sufficiency also applies to nations. It could apply to energy, or cars or even games consoles in terms of how much or many we produce ourselves and how much or many we then have to import to meet demand. But more importantly, to me at least, is self-sufficiency in terms of food. How much of what we need to sustain ourselves and our individual lifestyles is grown here in the UK and how much comes from overseas. In some commodities such as barley or milk, we produce more than we need and are nett exporters, but in almost everything else we are major importers. This shouldn’t be surprising in terms of, say, fruit, where we could not expect to grow the bananas, oranges, kiwis, grapes, mangoes and avocados that we take for granted all year round in our fruit bowls.

But when it comes to vegetables, grains for making bread, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, eggs and dairy products, how good are we at being ‘self-sufficient’? Let me say straight away that throughout the last 200 years we have never been fully self-sufficient in food production. This was keenly felt during the two World Wars, especially the second one, when German submarines and battleships effectively cut off food imports from the free world and the British people were urged – and forced through rationing – to be frugal with food and to grow as much as possible. But away from wartimes, we have been happy to be nett importers. The situation though is one of decline – 30 years ago we produced 80% of our needs; today just 60%.

As a country in Europe, we are very densely populated. Indeed of all major European countries, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and most countries in Asia and South America, we have more people per acre of land than anyone else. And with more people, there’s more demand and the conflict of providing housing, infrastructure, and everything needed by people which takes a lot of land that could otherwise be used for growing food. So, when the population is regularly growing through immigration by around 200-300,000 people per annum, and those people are mostly young working age and having more children themselves, then more and more buildings are required and the various bits of infrastructure to support them all. Put another way, that’s the population of Sunderland or Wolverhampton. If you built a town of such proportions from scratch this year and every other year, how many thousands of acres of farmland would you lose and how many tonnes of produce as a consequence? So imports go up and up and our own production either holds steady though improved efficiency or declines through sheer loss of farmable land. The problem of relying on imports apart from almost starving during wartime, is that you become prisoner to circumstances outside your control and have to pay the price demanded.

Now, from this you might think that I’m about to decry the proposed development of farmland at Chesterton. The loss of this land will further weaken our agricultural output and towns and villages throughout the UK but England especially, are facing such challenges every day. But I’m not. We have to be realistic. With such levels of population increase, the immigrants have to live somewhere and Cirencester is as good as anywhere else for them. So, I’m afraid to say, if you support open door immigration, which seemingly almost half the voting population do, then you have to face up to developments such as this as the natural consequence.

What I do decry though is the wanton waste of land that could grow food to support acres of solar panels. Until the roof of every public building, every factory, warehouse, supermarket etc. is fully plastered with these, then not a single square foot of farmland should ever be so despoiled. It’s time we started getting our priorities right.